Presentation on theme: "VOTING BEHAVIOUR. Long-term determinants of voting behaviour Partisanship Between 1896-1932 Republicans were dominant party. They dominated every region."— Presentation transcript:
Long-term determinants of voting behaviour Partisanship Between 1896-1932 Republicans were dominant party. They dominated every region except the South. Between 1896-1932 Republicans were dominant party. They dominated every region except the South. Wall Street Crash changed this. Democrats formed ‘New Deal Coalition’ – included blue collar workers and white Southerners Wall Street Crash changed this. Democrats formed ‘New Deal Coalition’ – included blue collar workers and white Southerners
Critical elections and realignment In the second half of the twentieth century the ‘solid south’ vote went over to the Republicans and Democrats made gains in the northern states. Why? Racial desegregation – Democrat President Johnson passed Civil Rights Act 1964, and Voting Rights Act 1965.From 1964 about 90% of African Americans support Democrats. Democrats steadily lost ‘solid south’
Ideology issues Republicans became steadily more conservative esp. on role of government. Wanted to social programmes of government. Democrats became more ‘tax and spend’. Economic issues More lower income groups supported Democrats, Republicans were supported by the wealthier looking for tax cuts (epitomised by Reaganism) Moral issues Republicans became associated with pro- family, anti abortion, lobby and Christian right.
Ethnic group issues Democrats always been a party of recent immigrants. Republicans more associated with WASPs. However, since 1960s immigration has increased and been mainly Latino. Both parties try to court Latino vote as is fastest growing group. Gender issues Increasingly visible gender gap. From 1980 on women have leaned towards Democrats. However, gap may be closing.
Partisan alignment Idea that loyalty to a party is main way of explaining voting behaviour. These are a party’s core voters. How do you think partisanship is transmitted? Scholars argue that partisanship has become more pronounced since the 1990s and that in particular Republican voters are not prepared to back the Democrats. (50/50 nation) To what extent is this shown by table 6.1?
Reasons why Republicans would not back Democrats ‘Conservative revolution’ of the 1990s and the ‘Contract with America’ ‘Conservative revolution’ of the 1990s and the ‘Contract with America’ Bitterness over impeachment of Clinton Bitterness over impeachment of Clinton Role of Fox news Role of Fox news Character of Bush administration Character of Bush administration However, to what extent does table 6.3 show that there has been a weakening of party loyalties and not polarisation? However, to what extent does table 6.3 show that there has been a weakening of party loyalties and not polarisation?
Why has there been a long-term decline in Democrat identifiers? Decline of manufacturing and the trades unions Defection of white Southerners Some put off by Democrats becoming more liberal and associated with radical movements Lack of identity – difficult to identify a Democratic philosophy compared to Republicans.
Is partisanship still important in US presidential elections? In 12 out of the 15 presidential elections between 1952-2008 the party that managed to gain the highest level of support from its own identifiers was the party that won the election. What were figures in 2008? What kinds of independent voters can there be? How were independent voters important to Obama’s win? Independents made up 29% of voters in 2008, does that mean partisan de-alignment has taken place?
Race as a determinant of voting behaviour African American vote The black vote has been solidly Democratic since 1930s. This is due to New Deal. Black vote is concentrated in certain areas due to re-districting.
Why else is the black vote Democratic? Welfare programmes benefit poor Democrat support for civil rights movement Democrat support for affirmative action Democrat black role models Republican party’s failure to support black interests. In 2008 turnout for black voters rose 2%. What was the increase in the share of the vote between 2004-2008 for Democrats by black voters?
Hispanic vote ‘sleeping giant’ of US politics Concentrated in certain key areas like Florida. Tend to vote Democrat for social not religious reasons. Illegal immigration issue How have Hispanics voted in the last 2 elections and can we see a trend?
Religion WASPs strong Republicans Catholic voters historically Democratic but in 2004 many groups switched to Republicans due to issues of gay marriage and abortion Jewish voters traditionally Democratic. They form key voting blocs in New York and Florida Christian fundamentalists – strong Republican supporters in past. Strong in bible belt and the South. However, they can alienate moderate Republicans. Frequency of attendance at religious services is usually a good predictor of voting. How has fundamentalist Christian vote changed in 2008? (p.83 Annual Survey)
What about white working class men?? The number of white voters is in decline (74% in 08 compared to 87% in 92) Obama did not seem to put off white voters, he polled a similar proportion of the white vote to Kerry White voters, however, preferred McCain. Why do the Democrats seem to be losing the votes of white working class men in particular? (pp.108-110 TopicMaster)
Gender More women vote Mostly they vote Democrat ‘Security moms’ in 2004 and ‘hockey moms’ in 2008. Women are more pro-choice, anti-guns, and anti-death penalty. Favour health and education benefits, not hawkish on foreign policy and more environmentally friendly. Is the ‘gender gap’ significant and was it important in 2008?
Age Older voters more likely to be partisan and thus to vote ‘Grey vote’ significant Younger voters more de-aligned and volatile In 2008 Obama won 68% of first time voters. What was his lead in the 18-29 age group?? Please note, however, that they constituted only 17% of the electorate which is similar to 2004.
Region No longer Democrat ‘solid South’ but the Northeast seems to be solid for Democrats However, Northeast has a declining population South is still solidly Republican. Which southern states did Obama manage to ‘flip’? More densely populated areas tend to vote Democrat and more sparsely populated Republican. Thus the real battlegrounds seem to be the suburbs. Bush won suburban vote in 04 52-47%. Obama won them in 08 50-48%
Wealth Is usually a ‘wealth gap’ between Democrat and Republican voters. This has been closing e.g. in 88 Republicans carried highest income group by 25% and Democrats carried lowest income group by same margin In 08 how did this trend change?
Some more work to do Read the second half of the Obama article and answer questions 5+6 at the end of the article. Read the article on direct democracy. Do an essay question: ‘Does direct participation through the use of referendums, initiatives and propositions help or hinder democracy in the USA?’